Saturday, March 31, 2012

KTM 690 Duke Track is the spiritual successor to the early-1990s Ducati Supermono

KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track
KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track
It's the coolest track-only single-cylinder motorcycle in the world...

Last month, we’d written about the EJC-spec KTM 690 Duke , which will be raced in the European Junior Cup (EJC) series this year. We did say the bike looked very interesting and hoped KTM would do a street version or upgrade the regular 690 Duke to EJC spec. Right on cue, the Austrian company has announced they will produce a limited edition ‘Track’ version of the 690 Duke, which will be based on the EJC bike!

KTM will only produce 200 units of the 690 Duke Track and while it won’t be homologated for the street, it will be priced under 10,000 euros and will have the same spec as the EJC racebike. At 140kg, the 690 Duke Track will be 10 kilos lighter than the regular 690 and, thanks to a full titanium/carbon Akrapovic exhaust, modifications to the airbox and KTM PowerParts camshaft with a bespoke fuel map, will have 79 horsepower, 9bhp more than the stock machine.

Other changes on the 690 Duke Track include a KTM PowerParts seat that’s firmer, higher and that allows more room for the rider to change position on the bike, new rearset footpegs that increase ground clearance, lightweight Marchesini alloy wheels, narrower Renthal handlebars, and a thicker brake disc at the front, with new four-pad radial-mount Brembo caliper and master cylinder. Since this is meant to be a track-use-only machine, ABS is not available on the 690 Duke Track. And finally, the bike also gets new, higher-spec suspension – fully adjustable WP forks and monoshock.

We think the KTM 690 Duke Track is pretty interesting. This machine is, perhaps, the spiritual successor to the Ducati Supermono of the early-1990s!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Extreme Cornering and the Buell XB12R Firebolt

Buell XB12R Firebolt
Yes, you really could ride your pants off on the Buell XB12R!
Buell XB12R Firebolt Buell XB12R Firebolt Buell XB12R Firebolt

Back in 2005, the unthinkable happened. The Buell XB12R Firebolt – a little-known motorcycle from a small-volumes manufacturer – was declared the best bike in the world, for cornering. In the UK-based Bike magazine’s story on the Top 50 Cornering Bikes, the XB12R came out right on top, beating, among others, contenders like the Ducati 999R, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Triumph Speed Triple 1050, Aprilia RSV1000R, Honda RC30, KTM 990 Super Duke and Yamaha YZF750R. Which was pretty much everything, then.

So what exactly was the XB12R, again? Well, it was a sportsbike built Buell-style, powered by an air-cooled, fuel-injected 1203cc ‘Thunderstorm’ V-twin that produced 103bhp and 112Nm of torque. With a dry weight of 178 kilos, wheelbase of 52 inches and steering geometry which, according to Bike, was akin to that of a 250cc GP racer, the XB12R Firebolt was definitely not a conventional sportsbike. But with its fully adjustable Showa 43mm inverted forks and monoshock, sticky Pirelli Diablo Corsa III tyres and single-disc, four-pad, eight-piston ZTL2 front braking system, the machine was apparently built to go around corners better than anything else. So let’s then take a quick look at what Bike mag had to say about the XB12R back then:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Deep Freeze: Yamaha R1 vs Porsche 911 GT3 RS

250km/h on ice? Why the hell not!

This time, it's a 180bhp Yamaha YZF-R1 against a 450-horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 RS, both of which go head to head on an exact replica of the 5.8km Paul Ricard circuit, recreated on ice, in Lapland, in Finland. The temperature is -25 degrees and any grip available is only provided by the 2,320 spikes which the Porsche is wearing on its tyres, and the 470 spikes which the R1 is relying upon. And then, for good measure, a Mitsubishi Evo 9 and Yamaha 450WRF also decide to join in...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, other variants, unveiled

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
With the new 'Record Kit,' the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer is cooler than ever before...
2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer

Moto Guzzi have released pics and details of their new, 2013-spec V7 range, which includes the Racer, Special and Stone versions. ‘We can say that the V7 is a completely new bike, more powerful, faster, thriftier, more ecological, better refined and more comfortable than the previous version, and yet still with a shaft-driven 90° transverse V-twin engine and double cradle frame,’ says a press release from Guzzi.

Changes on the 2013 V7 range include a revised engine with two oxygen sensors (for better fuel economy and lower emissions), redesigned cylinder heads, bigger air intake ducts, increased compression ratio (up from 9.2 to 10.2), redesigned cylinder fins (for better cooling) and a more refined five-speed gearbox. With a fuel economy figure of 23km/l, the Guzzi V7, with its 22-litre fuel tank, now has a range of more than 500km on one tank of fuel.

The 2013 V7 range also gets new wheels that are lighter than before – alloy hoops with five split spokes for the V7, spoked with new polished aluminium rims for the Special and anodised black with red hubs for the Racer. The bikes’ 40mm front forks have been recalibrated and the Racer gets Bitubo WMT gas shock absorbers equipped with an external reservoir. Braking duties are handled by a single 320mm disc at the front and 260mm disc at the back.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ducati Desmosedici RR around the Mulholland Drive

One lucky owner takes his Desmosedici RR around the Mulholland Drive. It's not often that you'd see one of these MotoGP-replica machines being ridden flat-out on the street...
Ducati Desmosedici RR Ducati Desmosedici RR Ducati Desmosedici RR

Today, when all the headlines in Ducati world have been taken by the admittedly incredible 1199 Panigale, perhaps it’s also a good time to look back and, for a brief moment, think about the Desmosedici RR. The first and hitherto the only real MotoGP replica ever sold to the public, the Desmosedici RR was based on Ducati’s 2006 Desmosedici GP6 racebike. Unveiled in 2006, the RR was fitted with a 989cc 90-degree Desmodromic V4 that produced 197 horsepower at 13,800rpm and 116Nm of torque at 10,500rpm. The bike, which complied with Euro 3 emissions norms, cost US$72,500 and was fully street legal.

The Desmosedici RR had a 6-speed cassette-type gearbox, dry multi-plate hydraulically actuated slipper clutch, full carbonfibre bodywork, chrome-molybdenum-steel trellis frame, aluminium swingarm and fully adjustable Öhlins suspension – 43mm FG353 PFF USD forks and monoshock with hydraulic preload and low/high compression damping adjustment. The bike rolled on 17-inch forged and machined magnesium wheels from Marchesini, shod with 120/70 (front) and 200/55 (rear) ZR-rated Bridgestone Battlax BT-01 tyres.